First of all, it was wonderful to see the crowd of thirty people at MADACC for the monthly operations committee meeting. Thank you to everyone who attended and to those who spoke on behalf of the organizations they represent:
MaryAnn Riggs - BRATS (Badger Rescue Animal Transport Services)
Kelly Herbold - Milwaukee Animal Alliance
Nancy Annaromao - Milwaukee Animal Alliance
David Mangold - Save Milwaukee's Court Case Dogs
Joe Wilke - former MADACC volunteer
Amanda Wenzel - MADACC volunteer and Milwaukee Animal Alliance
Your heartfelt testimony was great. Unfortunately, I think it had more impact on the audience than it did on the board members and staff, who did the paper shuffle thing throughout.
There were also people that drove a very long distance to attend. Again, thank you. A large public presence will be very important going forward. We have to send a strong message that we aren't going away.
One of the underlying themes that each of the speakers touched on was the failure of the MADACC management and board to communicate with the volunteers, rescues, and the public. There is currently no accountability, no transparency, no venue for communication. Emails go unanswered. There are never any responses to the questions or issues set forth. It is the big black hole of MADACC.
After the public comments session, the meeting went into the normal agenda. Statistics, financial report, etc. No comments about the elephant in the room. That people are there because they are upset and they want answers.
Then Don Schaewe from Milwaukee moved to have quarterly public "listening sessions" at various locations around the county. These would be arranged by the new Executive Director and the volunteer coordinator. This passed unanimously by the committee. This is a far cry from the Citizens Advisory Committee that has been discussed and was supposed to be brought forth by the City of Milwaukee representation.
A source told me that Ron Hayward does not support the idea of a Citizen's Advisory Committee. The source also told me that Ron Hayward thinks there is nothing wrong at MADACC and anything that was wrong was rectified with the resignations of Kevin Wilken and David Flagler.
The offering of public listening sessions are an attempt to placate us; a bone thrown in our direction in hopes that we will go away. These public listening sessions will be the same old, same old. Yes, the public will get an opportunity to speak but the big paper shuffle will continue. Heads down. No answers. No accountability.
What do we want? Here is the wish list:
- A new Executive Director who is receptive to ideas about progressive animal welfare practices and will engage and empower the volunteers, the rescues, the transporters, the foster homes and the public to save lives. The new Executive Director must have the power to fire the staff and management who are unwilling to get on the bandwagon of change.
- A Citizen's Advisory Committee that will work hand in hand with the current board to fulfill MADACC's mission and contract obligations, including to "use euthanasia as a last resort".
- Quantifiable goals, a timeline and accountability from the Board of Directors. If they are unwilling to show interest in the welfare of the animals in their community they should step down and let somebody who cares take their place.
- Implementation of recommendations made in the UC Davis Report to improve the health, well-being and outcome for Milwaukee County's homeless animals.
- Open lines of communication with the Executive Director, the management, and the Board of Directors without fear of being banned or blacklisted as a volunteer or a rescue.
If you are concerned about the welfare of animals in Milwaukee County, I urge you to email the following board members and John McDowell, the Interim Executive Director and let them know. I also ask that you attend the monthly Operations Committee meetings, held the third Tuesday of every month at 1 p.m. at MADACC - 3839 West Burnham Street, West Milwaukee.
The operations committee is made up of six members of the board of directors.
Ron Hayward, West Milwaukee, President: firstname.lastname@example.org
Susan Robertson, Fox Point, Vice President (leaving soon for another position)
Don Schaewe, Milwaukee: email@example.com
Paul Ziehler, West Allis: firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael Weber, Hales Corner: email@example.com
Eric Pearson, Milwaukee: firstname.lastname@example.org
Derik Summerfield, Wauwatosa (absent): email@example.com
Also attending the operating committee meeting were the following MADACC staff members:
John McDowell - Interim Executive Director: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Gutting - Veterinarian
Laura Proeber - Office Manager
Jessica Huber - Volunteer Coordinator